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Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors beat BG Pathum United on penalties to seal AFC Champions League last eight berth

Jeonju: Two crucial saves from Song Bum-keun carried Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors to a 4-2 penalty shootout win over BG Pathum United after their 2021 AFC Champions League Round of 16 clash finished 1-1 after extra-time on Wednesday.

The Jeonbuk goalkeeper denied Sarach Yooyen and Chitchanok Xaysensourinthone from 12 yards, sparing the K League side’s blushes after the severely depleted visitor had threatened to pull off a major upset.

Earlier, Gustavo’s eighth goal of the tournament looked to have put Jeonbuk on track for the last eight, but veteran striker Teerasil Dangda headed the visitors level in the 76th minute to force extra time.

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With BG Pathum reeling from the absence of injured Brazilian stars Diogo Luis Santos, and their head coach Aurelio Vidmar unable to travel due to quarantine restrictions, Jeonbuk came into the clash as hot favourites and began the match accordingly.

Lee Seung-gi fired a speculative effort narrowly wide of the goal and one of several early shots from the K League champions, but their possession dominance was tempered by moments of sloppiness as the half went on, with BG Pathum’s Pathompon Charoenrattanapirom coming close to scoring against the run of play a rare but dangerous BG Pathum breakaway.

Kim Sang-sik had clearly seen enough when he introduced benched striker Gustavo and newly acquired Korean international Song Ming-kyu after just 30 minutes, and the double switch gave them an immediate boost with Paik Seung-ho’s header saved on the goal-line by Chathchai Budprom before Stanislav Iljutcenko fired an effort just over the bar a minute later.

Jeonbuk chances kept coming - and kept going when substitute Song blasted over from just six yards, but the hosts spared themselves a potential dressing down from their coach when they broke BG Pathum’s resistance in the second minute of first-stoppage time, with Gustavo diverting Han Kyo-won’s initial header into the net from a few yards out following a corner kick.

Jeonbuk went to the interval with the goal their play had merited, but Song Min-kyu, Ilujetcenko and Gustavo all failed to make the most of opportunities early in the second half, and those misses were punished when BG Pathum conjured an unexpected equaliser through Teerasil Danga with 14 minutes remaining.

The Thailand national team veteran showed he remains a force at the top level, finding the net with a superb, angled header which tickled the upright on the way in following a measured cross from Chaowat Veerachat.

The visitors nearly took a shock lead when substitute Chitchanok's first touch of the match forced Song Bum-keun into a reflex save, but Jeonbuk could have snatched a late winner themselves, with Chatchai at full stretch to save a goal-bound Lee Ju-yong strike as the two sides finished the 90 minutes deadlocked at 1-1.

An extra-time period of relatively few chances meant the tie would be settled from the penalty spot, where Jeonbuk broke a sequence of eight successive shootout defeats thanks to Song Bum-keun's heroics, with Kim Jin-su slotting a decisive penalty to send the home side to the quarter-finals for the the first time since 2018.

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